Schools from across the Shoalhaven have shone in the Wakakirri Story-Dance Challenge, Australia's biggest performing arts event for primary and secondary schools.
More than 280 schools and 20,000 students across the country performed in Wakakirri this year, with eight taking the stage at the Shoalhaven Entertainment Centre.
Two schools came out on top as the region's winners; Shoalhaven Heads Public School in the Primary category and St John The Evangelist High School in the Secondary category.
These schools are also nominated for Wakakirri's top national award, 'Story of the Year'.
Shoalhaven Heads also took home the Best Raising Awareness Story Award for their performance about the effects of screen time on young people's lives.
St John The Evangelist's performance explored the journey of the courageous Diana Faraj, a Shoalhaven local who arrived in Australia as a refugee, taking home the Best Drama Story Award.
Other winners included Illaroo Public School (Best Global Awareness Story Award), Kiama Public School (Best Health and Well-Being Story Award) and Vincentia High School (Best Indigenous Australian Story Award).
Vincentia High's performance was a powerful story about the Wreck Bay indigenous community's fight for land rights.
Established in 1992, Wakakirri is an opportunity for students to share stories that express their thoughts, ideas and aspirations. This year Wakakirri's National Panel of industry experts includes Emma Watkins (the yellow Wiggle), Andrew McFarlane, Justine Clarke, Alex Papps, and Caroline Kaspar.
Wakakirri's Story of the Year Award will be announced October 17 on Waka TV. Schools around the country will watch the announcement live by tuning in online.
Participating South Coast schools
Callala Public School
Josephine Wants To Dance: This is a story about dreams, believing in yourself ... and a dancing kangaroo. Who says that kangaroos can't dance? Principal: Michelle Watkins Item Coordinators: Kristen Clarke, Nadine Grootenboer, Christie Woods, Michelle Morris.
Illaroo Road Public School
Utopia: Our world is a beautiful vibrant place but what if this wasn't the case, what if our world was dull, uninspired, lifeless? We would only ever be able to dream of a utopian world. Principal: Jacqueline Piggott Item Coordinators: Alyce Penfold, Jenny Binns.
Illaroo Road Public School
Consider The Bees: Bees are amazing creatures that provide us with honey and pollinate one third of our crops. Bees are an essential part of our ecosystem. Many species of bees are endangered. Principal: Jacqueline Piggott Item Coordinator: Brooke Irving.
Kangaroo Valley Public School
The Magic In Me: The production is our interpretation of the Australian classic 'Possum Magic'. It promotes a love and recognition of our unique Australian wildlife, and a love of learning through picture books. Principal: Andrew Smee Item Coordinator: Mary Jarvis.
Kiama Public School
The Monsters Inside: Jacqui is learning to work through her emotions when things are difficult or when things do not go her way. Luckily, her mother is there to help her find a way to calm the 'monsters' inside and gain control of her emotions. Principal: Natalie Marshall Item Coordinators: Jacqueline Schleeter, Georgia Sellars.
Shoalhaven Heads Public School
Connected: We tell the story of the effect of screen time on young people's lives. Exploring how a positive can become a negative when thought is not given to how we use it in our day to day lives. Principal: Sarah Baker Item Coordinators: Racheal Taylor, Belinda Fagan.
St John the Evangelist Catholic High School
The Plight of Diana: Diana Faraj- passionate, empowering, resilient. A refugee who has seen and endured more than any of us could imagine. Follow us as we take you on Diana's journey and truly encompass the courage of this incredible women. Principal: Sandra Hogan Item Coordinators: Savannah Lloyd, Dianne Bryce.
Vincentia High School
403: The dispossession of their traditional lands caused pain and heartache to the Wreck Bay community. We follow their journey as they stand united to reclaim a place of great significance. Principal: Ken Bates Item Coordinators: Vivienne Nolan, Maxine Amor, Gai Brown, Michaela Jeffries.